Back to Education Allowance Rules

///Back to Education Allowance Rules
Back to Education Allowance Rules 2016-11-23T14:58:42+00:00

Back to Education Allowance Rules

2: Rules

To qualify for the Back to Education Allowance, you must be at least 21 years of age (24 years of age for a third-level postgraduate course).
For exceptions to the age limit – see below.

If you wish to attend a second level course you must be getting one of the social welfare payments listed below for at least 3 months (78 days of unemployment*) immediately before you start the course.

If you wish to attend a third level course you must be getting one of the social welfare payments listed below for 9 months (234 days of unemployment*) immediately before you start the course.

*If you are getting a jobseeker’s payment, each day you are unemployed, except Sunday, is counted as a day of unemployment.

Qualifying social welfare payments are:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit
  • Farm Assist
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Deserted Wife’s Benefit/Allowance
  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension
  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension
  • Prisoners Wife’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance

If you are getting Illness Benefit for 2 years or more you can also qualify for the Allowance.

Time spent on BTEA, VTOS, FÁS training courses, Fáilte Ireland Training course, Community Employment schemes, FIT, Rural Social Scheme, Back to Work Allowance, Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, Short Term Enterprise Allowance, FÁS Job Initiative, Revenue Job Assist, Supplementary Welfare Allowance, in prison or in Direct Provision can count towards the qualifying period. You may go directly from one of the above schemes to Back to Education Allowance provided you were getting one of the qualifying social welfare payments listed above before you started the scheme. You must start your approved course of study within four weeks of leaving the scheme. Otherwise you must be getting a qualifying social welfare payment immediately before starting an approved course of study.

Redundancy

If you are awarded statutory redundancy under Irish legislation, you can have immediate access to the BTEA. To qualify you must:

  • Take part in the BTEA scheme within one year of getting statutory redundancy
  • Be entitled to a qualifying social welfare payment before starting your course – see list above

Unemployment or illness credits

If you are signing on for unemployment credits or submitting medical certificates for illness credits, for the required period of time (see ‘Rules’ above), you may qualify to participate in the BTEA scheme. You will not get a weekly Back to Education Allowance, but you can get the Cost of Education Allowance. This is a once off payment at the beginning of each academic year. You will continue to be awarded credited contributions while you are taking part in the BTEA scheme.

Exceptions to the age limit

To qualify for the Back to Education Allowance, you must be at least 21 years of age (24 years of age for a third-level postgraduate course).

However, if you are getting Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or One-Parent Family Payment for the required period of time and aged between 18 and 20 and you have been out of the formal education system for at least 2 years you may qualify for Back to Education Allowance.

If you are aged 18 or over and getting Blind Pension, Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension or Incapacity Supplement for the required period of time you may qualify for the Allowance. The Allowance has also been extended to people with disabilities who have left Community Employment schemes and who, when beginning the scheme, were not getting a qualifying social welfare payment. In this case, you must begin the course within 4 weeks of finishing the scheme.